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What causes anosmia?

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Nasal congestion from a cold, allergy, sinus infection, or poor air quality is the most common cause of anosmia. Other anosmia causes include:

  • Nasal polyps -- small noncancerous growths in the nose and sinuses that block the nasal passage.
  • Injury to the nose and smell nerves from surgery or head trauma.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as pesticides or solvents.
  • Certain medications, including antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory medication, heart medications, and others.
  • Cocaine abuse.
  • Old age. Like vision and hearing, your sense of smell can become weaker as you age. In fact, one's sense of smell is most keen between the ages of 30 and 60 and begins to decline after age 60.
  • Certain medical conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, nutritional deficiencies, congenital conditions, and hormonal disturbances.
  • Radiation treatment of head and neck cancers.

From: What Is Anosmia? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Rhinologic Society: "Loss of Taste and Smell Stinks!"

Mayo Clinic: "The Loss of Smell (Anosmia)."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach."

National Institutes of Health: "Smell Disorders."

Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 5, 2019

SOURCES:

American Rhinologic Society: "Loss of Taste and Smell Stinks!"

Mayo Clinic: "The Loss of Smell (Anosmia)."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach."

National Institutes of Health: "Smell Disorders."

Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 5, 2019

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What are the symptoms of anosmia?

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